Seventh-Day Adventists/Was EGW a Prophet?
Were you taught as an SDA that Ellen White was a prophet? I ask because many SDAs are now denying this. Could this be because with the internet her failed prophecies are there for all to see?
Do they really believe that by calling her a “messenger” her failures don’t matter?
Thank you for your question.
Yes, I was taught that Ellen White was a prophet and it is still being taught but labeled as the Gift of Prophecy or the Spirit of Prophecy. Before a new member can be baptized into the SDA church, they have to publicly vow that they believe in Ellen White's gift.
When I took my vows back in the 60's, they actually used Ellen White's name but the vows have now changed to use only her function unaccompanied by her name. I don't know the real reason for the change but I surmise that it was done to not raise a red flag for non-SDAs who might be in the audience witnessing the baptism of a loved one or a friend. Perhaps the loved one or friend would want to know, "Who is this woman you pledged to believe?" and a battle could begin. Excluding her name avoids the "untrained" ear to ask questions. I also believe it had a lot to do with Internet savvy and the information provided online.
Following is a comparison of how the baptismal vows began and changed in the years 1874, 1932 and 2000.
THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY - ELLEN G. WHITE
1874  Do you recognize that the remnant church has the Spirit of Prophecy, and that this has been manifested to this church through the writings of Ellen G. White? Rev. 12:17; 19:10.
1932/4  Do you believe the Bible doctrine of "spiritual gifts" in the church, and do you believe in the gift of the Spirit of prophecy which has been manifested in the remnant church through the ministry and writings of Mrs. E. G. White ?
2000  Do you accept the biblical teaching of spiritual gifts and believe that the gift of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church?
I took the 1932 version of the vow.
I do know that regardless of what these people deny, say and believe, Ellen White continues to be lifted as an authority, prophet, comforter, guide, instructor and corrector by the church. Following is the denomination's current Fundamental Belief #18:
The Gift of Prophecy
The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Num. 12:6; 2 Chron. 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9.)
The members are taught that she had special light in interpreting Scripture and the leadership continues to encourage the members to purchase and read her books. The GC President,Ted Wilson quotes Ellen White in his sermons more than the Bible.. One very close SDA friend of mine, who is now a retired pastor's wife, told my daughter (who no longer believes in Ellen White) that if she uses the Bible only and don't study it using Ellen's writings, that she can be deceived because the Spirit without Ellen's input can lead her astray. My daughter politely told her that she will take her chances with the Holy Spirit.
To illustrate that they believe the Bible and Ellen White
(aka Spirit of Prophecy and/or Gift of Prophecy) go hand in hand
, I cut and pasted two paragraphs from the first Sabbath sermon delivered by Ted Wilson, GC President after his reelection in July 2015. He said...
"...Dad taught me to revere and believe in God’s Holy Word. Dad loved to preach from the Word, an inexhaustible source of God’s instruction. Both my precious mother and dear father loved the Holy Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy
. They both bequeathed to me a complete trust in and love for a plain reading of the Word of God and a great appreciation for the Spirit of Prophecy
. I never heard one disparaging remark from my parents about the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy, only great respect and acceptance.
I plead with you to have that same love and respect for this Book and the Spirit of Prophecy
. If you haven’t read much from either one for a while, pick up the Bible and read it. Pick up Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, The Ministry of Healing, The Great Controversy, Patriarchs and Prophets, the Testimonies or any other Spirit of Prophecy book and read it
. See what God will do for your heart and life. Participate with church members all over this globe as we begin this quinquennium by daily reading one chapter of the Bible and approximately two pages of the Conflict of the Ages series
. Last quinquennium it was a joy to read the Bible through and this quinquennium will be the same. Of course, if you are on your own reading program, please move ahead, but let’s experience the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy
in our lives everyday."
To read the entire sermon to see how it is bathed in Ellen White quotes please go to the following link:
To further solidify their belief in her as a prophet, The SDA Church placed her picture on the cover of the Adventist Review
along with Moses, John the Baptist, and Deborah. Adventist Review
, June 4, 1992. Associate Editor Roy Adams wrote an article, "A Prophet for Our Time, Sizing Up Ellen G. White", in this edition, pp. 8,9.
Perhaps the awakening came to some when Ben Carson ran as a Republican presidential candidate. Some of their beliefs came under the spotlight and publicly scrutinized. Many now associate SDAs with being weird or with the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, who also have a prophet and are labeled as cults. Perhaps questioning and savvy Internet users have discovered SDAs version of truth and are asking hard and embarrassing questions. A healthy amount of SDAs are generational and perhaps never really studied for themselves nor took their vows seriously since they trusted their family members beliefs. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is convicting them along with others and slowly lifting the veil. I pray that it is the latter.
The church has not changed this core fundamental belief and will not change it. Why? Because to renounce Ellen White's "gifts" as a prophet and/or messenger would give the SDA church a reason to cease to exist. It cannot survive without her writings. All of her aberrant anti-gospel teachings would set people free to live by grace through faith in a FINISHED atonement and the SDAs message of working hard to perfectly keep the law would become defunct. Believers will discover the joy of being guided by the Spirit - not by the law and especially not by TRYING to keep the seventh day Sabbath to be sealed and distinguished as a "true" believer.
May God continue to bless you and yours.